When Margaret Thatcher was in school as a young girl, she was assigned books like we all were. Some were boring. Some were exciting. Some were strange.
But without fail, her father—with barely a high school education himself—took interest. He wanted to discuss what she was reading. He wanted to read them with her. “On one occasion,” Thatcher recalled, “he found that I did not know Walt Whitman’s poetry; this was quickly remedied, and Whitman is still a favorite author of mine.” He did this a lot. When he found she was reading one thing, he’d recommend something related to it. When he found gaps in her reading, he’d take her to the library to fill it. He got her to read the classics. He signed up for political magazines and newsletters, which he shared.
It’s not just about reading to them when they’re little. It’s not just about getting them into a good school or insisting they do their homework. It’s about being involved. It’s about making reading a family affair. It’s about letting them benefit from your experiences—all the ideas and books you’ve been exposed to in the time you’ve been on this planet.
You raise a reader by being a reader…and by being a good reading guide and companion. And this is a process that takes a lifetime. You take an interest early and you don’t stop. The reward? A lovely, lasting connection you will always have with your children.